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Partner Spotlight: Project Athena

Partner Spotlight: Project Athena

We are honored to partner with Project Athena to provide headwear for a truly inspiring cause. If you are unfamiliar with this amazing organization, let us share a little about what makes them so special.

Project Athena is dedicated to helping women who have suffered significant medical setbacks and other traumatic experiences achieve their adventurous dreams. More specifically, they provide travel expenses, coaching, equipment, and the encouragement and inspiration needed to help these strong women make a life-affirming transition from Survivor to Athlete.PA3

“So many labels are given to these ladies throughout the personal experience that ultimately brings them to our door. At times, these words begin to feel like your only identity. To watch them break through those labels to conquer a physical feat that once felt impossible is incredibly uplifting,” says Melissa Merrill, marketing manager.

Project Athena offers six adventures per year, pairing applicants with an experience that best fits their needs and a 16-20 week training plan that will help them prepare. The first event is the San Diego Harbor to Harbor Trek. This two-day, 50-mile hike down the coast begins at the Oceanside Harbor and ends at the San Diego Harbor, taking in the sights from Mt. Soledad and La Jolla along the way.

The 2017 San Diego Harbor to Harbor Trek will take place April 28 – May 1. To learn more visit www.projectathena.org

 

Welcome, 2017 Ambassadors!

Welcome, 2017 Ambassadors!

Each year we open a process that invites enthusiastic supporters of our brand to join the Headsweats family in a more official capacity. After pouring over hundreds (!) of applications, the 2017 roster has been finalized. These outstanding individuals were selected based upon their athletic accomplishments and leadership within their sport. The lineup includes 11 new and 17 returning athletes from across the United States who compete in running and multisport events.

“We see our ambassadors as an extension of the team,” says Headsweats President Mike McQueeney.  “They are out living the active lifestyle Headsweats was founded on, and we’re thrilled to support and outfit them through their training and racing.”

This year’s Ambassadors include, but are not limited to, Lyndy Davis, a 2016 Marathon Olympic Trials Qualifier looking to break the 2:40 barrier; Danielle Cemprola, a marathoner and popular blogger for Women’s Running; Nadia Ruiz, the youngest Latina to run 100 marathons in the world; and Peter Burrill, an ultrarunner who completed five 100-mile races in just four months. This diverse group of athletes will fly the Headsweats flag while training and racing, sharing their experiences via blog posts and social media along the way. Headsweats Ambassadors also play an integral role in testing and supplying feedback for future products and designs.

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Left to right:  Lyndy Davis; Danielle Cemprola; Nadia Ruiz; Peter Burrill

The complete 2017 roster comprises:  Smitha Arons, runner; Stuart Barrington, multisport endurance athlete; Jen Boudreau, runner; Joe Dean, ultrarunner; Danielle Cemprola, runner; Nadia Ruiz, triathlete; Joe Rainone, runner; Matthew Johnson, runner; Susan Schenberg, ultrarunner; Nunzia Lopez, runner; Linda Nguyen, runner; Angela Gillis, runner; Scott Wesemann, runner; Ryan Delany, runner; Jessica Rinehart, runner; Ricky Roane, ultrarunner; Peter Burrill, ultrarunner; Josephine Hoffman, runner; Stephanie Franklin, runner; Lindsey Dillon, triathlete; Paige Kinucan, runner; Jill Monroe, runner; Charles Fox, runner; Jeff Stein, runner; Dan Nestor, runner; Brian Cronin, runner; Andy Cohen-Wray, runner; and Taralyn Summers, runner.

We’ll be introducing each of these accomplished individuals in more depth over the coming weeks. Stay tuned!

Five Simple Things That Will Help You Have a Healthy Holiday Season

Five Simple Things That Will Help You Have a Healthy Holiday Season

Headsweats Ambassador and Deseret News Columnist Kim Cowart provides some crucial advice on how to fully enjoy the holiday season without losing sight of your health and fitness goals!

‘Tis the season to eat all the foods, enjoy all the parties and indulge in all things. That’s what makes the holidays wonderful and horrible at the same time. It starts with Halloween, but it ramps up to warp speed between Thanksgiving and New Year’s.

I’m not going to try to teach you how to party in moderation. I’m not going to tell you how to substitute your favorite dessert with a healthy alternative. Frankly, I enjoy the holidays — cookies and all. But there is a way to partake and participate without burning out.

 1. Be active. Remaining consistent with your workout routine is not only kind to your waistline, but it’s kind to your mental health as well. This season, as joyous as it is, can be stressful, even when everything is going well. But here’s a little secret: When we expend energy, we gain energy. It’s why we feel so tired after a long car ride. It’s why we’re sluggish after a Netflix marathon. Our bodies are meant to move. Get your blood flowing. One hour of physical activity can do wonders for our energy levels. It boosts our mood and helps us get through our days a little easier.

 

2. Be realistic. Now’s probably not the best time to try that new fad diet or sign up for a marathon if you’ve never run a 5K. Big goals come in small steps. If you know the next few weeks are crammed with family get-togethers and activities, don’t tell yourself you’ll hit the gym every morning for two hours. You’re more likely to get something done if it’s a manageable expectation. Only have time for a 30-minute run? Put it on the calendar, get it done and be happy about it. Going to a party where the hostess always makes your favorite pecan pie? Plan on eating a slice, enjoy it and move on.

3. Be kind — to yourself, that is. It’s easy to make the holidays about everybody else, especially if you’re a parent. And that’s OK. In fact, that’s part of the fun and joy of the holidays. But there’s no joy when you’re exhausted. Carve out some time to do something you enjoy. I have to schedule my life to make it happen. Last year, I was frustrated because I bought a book I never got to read. I was wrapped up in holiday hoopla. I became resentful that everyone else was enjoying what they loved, but I wasn’t. But they didn’t force me to do all the baking, wrapping and planning. I put that on myself. I neglected what I loved. That was my fault. This year, I have a new book and for one hour while the kids are making lunches for the next school day and getting showers, I shut my door, ignore the laundry and read. It’s only been a couple weeks, but I’m loving it. Take a long bath. Take a nap. Do something kind for yourself.

4. Be cruel. “Wait! What? I thought she said to be kind?” Now I’m telling you to be cruel. Look at your calendar. Look at the planned activities, the must-do’s on your holiday to-do list. Which of those items make you happy? Which do you absolutely have to do? Which do you dread? What can you cut? I’m never going to skip my children’s school concerts, but I gave up Christmas cards years ago. I just hated doing them. I love watching “It’s a Wonderful Life” with the family, but the annual trek to Temple Square started to feel like drudgery. Now we only do it when the mood strikes. I realized years ago that a lot of the activities I thought were traditions were actually constraining our family. I was doing us all a disservice by forcing us to be merry. Letting go of the obligatory activities and doing what we truly loved has given our family the gift of time.

5. Be present. Put away the devices. Yeah, I know. We hear this all the time, but I mean it. So much of the holiday blues comes from comparing our reality with others’ social media facade. We may know that much of what we see is surface smiles, even totally unreal, but it gets to us still. Those devices not only invite the misery of comparison, but they also steal time from those we love who can bring us real joy. Three years ago we were celebrating Thanksgiving in our new home. Our youngest was only 6. At one point she stomped her feet and sighed in frustration. Of the 12 of us in the room, 11 of us were looking at our phones. She was the only one truly present. No phones or tablets this year. We’re pulling out our UNO deck instead.

Holiday health isn’t just about moderating our cookie intake. It’s about feeding our mind, body and soul. Focusing on how we feel as opposed to how we think we should feel. Doing the things that make us truly happy and not what others say should make us happy.

Enjoy your pie. Enjoy each other. Enjoy this season.

The original article can be found HERE!

 

Headsweats Ambassador Jen Boudreau – NYC Marathon Recap

Headsweats Ambassador Jen Boudreau – NYC Marathon Recap

Headsweats Ambassador Jen Boudreau is no stranger to the marathon, with 7 completed races under her belt. However, Jen’s 8th race at the New York City Marathon turned about to be a completely new and unforgettable marathon experience. Running as a member of the Boston Children’s Hospital “Miles for Miracles” charity team, Jen left her Garmin at home and focused instead on enjoying her race experience. Read her race recap below and learn out why her 8th marathon turned out to be the experience of a lifetime!

One of the longest days of my life has definitely become one of my favorite experiences. Two weeks later, I’m still thrilled to have completed the New York City Marathon.   My 8th marathon.

From the day I interviewed to be part of the Miles for Miracles Team, my NYCM experience was always going to be a fun marathon.  I never intended it to be a PR race.    And I believe I completely lived up to my expectations.   This marathon was by far, my most favorite marathon.
Marathon morning started out at 3am with a surprise time-of-the-month call (a week early), which sent me almost into freakout mode.  A quick google map search revealed there was a 24-hr CVS 0.2 miles from the apartment.  Very freaked out, I grabbed my pepper spray and credit card and sprinted there and back.  After that, there was no going back to sleep, so I got myself ready, ate my oatmeal with pb and maple syrup and stretched.
Just after 5, I received a notification that my Uber driver was enroute, so I headed downstairs and waited.   Moments later, he arrived and whisked me off to Central Park.
I found the Boston Children’s Hospital busses in no time.   The bus ride took a little over an hour, but it was definitely the way to go.  I didn’t have to navigate through NYC or freeze outside for hours.  Instead I was in a toasty bus that had a bathroom.  Not a bad way
to arrive.  When we were crossing the Verrazano Bridge, pre-race nerves were starting to hit.  I was really going to be running a marathon number 8 in just a few hours.
As we got off the busses, the Boston Children’s Hospital coaches gave us the warning the the security line was long and crazy, but to stick together as much as possible.  I was only able to stick with one other runner on the team.  Thank goodness I had her with me. After we passed through security, it took us a few minutes, but we found Charity Village.  Seriously.  This is the way to go.  A private village area, with a heated tent, port-a-potties just for Charity Village and our own coffee/tea/bagels.  Not that I had any, but it was a very nice touch!  Our coaches had us do a group stretch/warm-up then we took a group picture and sent us on our way to the corral.
Seeing the crazy amount of people in front of me, was super exciting.  Seeing that the last marathon I ran had maybe 300 runners, this was quite a different experience!
After the cannon went off, there was a little walking and then that walk became a jog.  I didn’t have my Garmin with me.  I also did not bring my iPod with me.  I made a promise to myself I was leaving it in Maine.  And I did.  It was rather freeing to not know my pace.   I did try to keep track of it for a bit with the first few miles.  But eventually I stopped caring and stopped paying attention to the race clocks.   I knew the day was going to be a long one and I wanted to enjoy every single step.  So I did!
Running across the Verrazano Bridge was a crazy experience.  Seeing all of the NYP helicopters cruising around was pretty cool sight.   The first part of the marathon, there are three different routes, and seeing the other groups for a bit and then seeing them pull away was a really odd experience as well, but I understand for sure.  That huge amount of runners going through a narrow part of the city would pose some problems.
I will note that not once did I feel super crowded.  I felt as though I had plenty of space to run my own race and take in all of NYC I possibly could.
When you entered each borough, there would be a marathon sign welcoming you to that borough.  But you didn’t really need those signs because the crowd definitely told you where you were!  From the signs, to the cheers, to the live bands, it was a crazy amazing experience!    I knew I was in Brooklyn for sure when I heard No Sleep Til Brooklyn blasting.
The live bands.  I seriously lost count of them.  There were so many of them, playing so many different types of music.   Sometimes when they weren’t playing music, they were cheering on the runners by name.  Making the runners, well, at least me, feel like a rockstar.
Running in a singlet for Boston Children’s Hospital definitely had it’s perks.  While it was a fun singlet that had a place to personalize it …. so I did!   I heard countless cheers for “Go Jen!”  and sometimes “Go Boston!”, “Boston Strong!” or “We love Boston Children’s Hospital!”   This happened throughout the entire race.
I loved experiencing all of the different cultures of NYC – from the way people dressed, to the music they played.  All of it was overwhelmingly amazing.
I knew Ward and the kids were going to be at mile 17 and I was hoping they would be wearing the orange patient partner shirts that were sent to us, as Tucker was my patient partner for this marathon. After I crossed over the Queensboro Bridge, which was the only quiet part of the entire race, I was at mile 16, so my search for my family was on.  I must of looked like a crazy person with a swivel head, scanning the crowd for my family.  After the sponge station, I spotted them and made a beeline over to them and hugged each of them. It was then, Ward said we’ll see you at mile 24.  Which was a change in plans, but made me SO happy!   So off I went, for another 7 miles.  7 SLOW miles.
Shortly after my family sighting, I saw the Boston Children’s Hospital crew!  So cool to be part of a team.   They really know how to make team members feel special during the race! The next 7ish miles were rather slow for me, but still amazing.  I was soaking it all in. High-fiving as many kids and adults as I could.  Chatting with runners as the miles passed by.  Walking whenever I felt like I wanted to.
Then, just like Ward said, at mile 24, I spotted my family in Central Park!  Of course I ran over to them and gave them more hugs and kisses!   Ward shouted to me “see you at the finish!” and I was off.   Running through Central Park was a like a dream come true.  Everything I had hoped it would be.   The winding road, the pigeons, the crowds.  All of it.  So freaking cool.  Then it happened, I saw the finish line and my NYCM marathon experience was about to come to an end.  But then it happened.  Out of ALL of the people running with me, the announcers called my name as I crossed the finish line!   That is one finish line announcement I will remember forever!
After I finished, received my mylar blanket, then my medal, then my food bag, I walked for what seems like forever until I entered the poncho area.  And then another mile until the family meeting area.  Of course, B was at the FAR end of the family meeting area…. so I had another long walk until I finally found my family!   By then, the hunger was setting in.  But first we stopped and I put on some warm clothes and then Tucker confiscated my poncho.
We found a great little bagel place and I finally enjoyed my first NYC pastrami sandwich while the kids had more bagels.   Then we caught a cab back to the car.  Then around 12:30 AM we were finally home!
I decided to stay home and sleep the next day, seeing that my marathon day started at 3AM and ended about 1:30 AM (because the house was freezing, so I had to make a fire before I went to bed!).
But I’ll tell you what, I felt great the next day!  Perhaps running a marathon for fun is what I should have been doing all along!
There you have it!  The NYCM recap.  My 8th marathon.  My most favorite marathon to date. And now, I think I’m going to take a break from marathons.  I originally said no more marathons.  But Ward reminded me that I’m an addict.  So, I’ll just say, I’m taking a break.
Read more about Jen’s running adventures on her blog, www.runningwiththegirls.com
Headsweats is Official Headgear of US Open Pickleball Championship!

Headsweats is Official Headgear of US Open Pickleball Championship!

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On April 23, 2017, thousands of athletes will converge in Naples, FL, to kick off the 2nd annual US Open Pickleball Championship, a week-long tournament featuring top-tier pickleball players from around the world! But what exactly IS pickleball?

A fun racquet sport that combines elements of tennis, badminton, and ping pong, pickleball can be played both indoors or outdoors on a badminton-sized court with a slightly modified tennis net. Using a paddle and a small plastic ball with holes, athletes compete as either singles or doubles, much like tennis. The rules are simple and the game is easy for beginners to learn, but can develop into a quick, fast-paced, competitive game for experienced players. Because it appeals to so many ages and skill levels, pickleball has quickly become the FASTEST growing sport in the United States. To learn more about the sport of pickleball and to find out where you can play in your community, visit www.usapa.org!

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As the official headwear sponsor of the US Open Pickleball Champtionship and the USAPA Nationals tournament, which wrapped up last week in Casa Grande, AZ, Headsweats has created a collection of headwear specifically for the quickly-growing number of pickleballers across the nation. Designed to help keep sweat out of athletes’ eyes with a built in terry sweatband and keep them comfortable in our quick drying, moisture wicking, and breathable fabric; Headsweats’ new “Pickleball Collection” allow pickleballers to stay focused on what matters: winning the next point. To see the full collection, click HERE!

 

 

Headsweats Ambassador Matt Johnson – Transition from College XC to Ultras

Headsweats Ambassador Matt Johnson – Transition from College XC to Ultras

Headsweats Ambassador Matt Johnson ran track and cross country at the collegiate level, culminating in a trip to the 2013 NCAA Cross Country National Champtionships. After college, Matt wasn’t ready to give up his competitive running career, and found a new passion for the sport through training and racing in trail races and ultra marathons. Matt’s friend and college teammate Clay Holton interviewed him on what it’s like to transition from being a collegiate athlete to an ultramarathoner and what advice he would give other runners looking to continue their competitive running careers after college.

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How long have you been running? What made you start enjoying it?

I have been running competitively for a little over 10 years now.  I decided I wanted to try out cross country at the end of my 8th grade year in school (2006).  My  middle school PE teacher at the time was also the high school cross country coach.  He talked to me about joining the cross country team going into my freshmen year of high school after we ran the mile fitness test in PE.  I had always played football during the fall up to that point, but for whatever reason I decided to give running a try.  Looking back now, I can’t really think of a time when I didn’t enjoy it.  I have always loved sports that require a lot personal motivation and hard work to get better.  Regardless of my talent level in any given sport, I have always prided myself on being a hard worker.  I think that was the initial draw for me towards running.  It truly is one of those sports where you only get out of it what you put into it.  Outside of that, I have always loved the “team” aspect of the sport.  The camaraderie and respect amongst runners is unlike any other sport I have ever been around.  My best friendships in life have come through the sport of running.

Did you run in college? What was your favorite distance to run? What were some of your best times?

Yes, I ran at Augusta University (formerly Augusta State University and Georgia Regents University).  While I ran both cross country and track at the collegiate level, I would have to say that cross country has always been my favorite.  I am a true cross country guy at heart.  As far as my favorite race distance goes, it’s pretty simple…the longer the better (an early sign of an ultra-runner to come, haha)! In college that meant the 10k.  I have to admit…I was always a little jealous of the NAIA guys though, because NAIA sanctions  a marathon national championship every year, haha.  I did race a couple half marathons in college and really enjoyed those.  As far as time goes, I ran 26:05 for 8k in cross country, 15:59 for 5k,  and 33:25 for 10k…nothing crazy fast, but times that I am proud of.  Unfortunately, I was plagued with some untimely injuries during my last couple track seasons.  I also ran a 1hr 13min (5:35ish pace) half marathon.  I had a fifth year of eligibility in track, so I had an entire fall to just train in preparation for the spring.  My coach and I decided to play to my strengths and give a half marathon a go.  I actually think that my half marathon time is my fastest PR once you start converting it to shorter distances.   I definitely think I have still have some PRs in my legs whenever I decide to take a break from the trails.

Do you have a favorite college XC/track racing moment?

I have many great memories from my college running experience, but the best would definitely have to be qualifying as a team for the 2013 NCAA Cross Country National Championships.  That was literally my biggest goal in college and had been a team goal for four years.  That entire fall was a dream season for us.  As seniors, we were able to win our second conference championship and go on to qualify for nationals.  Toeing the line at a national championship and ending my career on the biggest stage (at the collegiate level) with all of my brothers (aka teammates) was a dream come true, and a perfect way to close out my cross country career.  It is truly something I will remember and cherish for the rest of my life.

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What kinds of races are you training up for now? What are some of the highlight races you’ve done since college?

My post-collegiate career thus far has consisted mostly trail racing (with a few road races mixed in).  After college I was looking for new ways to challenge myself and get me excited to train, so I decided to turn to the trails.  I have always loved running on trails, and I feel like my strengths as a runner suit me well on them.  I have raced in several Xterra races, as well as other trail races ranging in distance from 10k to 11.5 miles.  I also competed in my first  ultra marathon (50k) this past April! Racing a 50k was equally one of the most awesome and hardest things I have done in my entire life.  It tested me physically, mentally, and emotionally in ways like nothing else ever has.  I found out a lot about myself that day.

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Do you have a coach or any specific training partners?

I currently do not have a coach.  I read /research a lot, talk to people, and use knowledge I have gained over the years.  That was a decision I came to after college for a couple of different reasons. One, being married now, working full-time, coaching, and having a number of other responsibilities/obligations to take care of throughout the week, my schedule is constantly changing.  I have always been a very meticulous when it comes to my training.  Now that I am in “the real world”, I have had to learn to be much more flexible with my training.  Sometimes that means switching workouts to different days because of the way I feel or a lack of time…others it might mean missing a run completely.  Bottom line, life happens and things come up sometimes.  I have learned to go with the flow and not get frustrated if my training week doesn’t go exactly as planned.  With all that being said, if I have a coach putting in the time and effort to write training plans, I want to make sure I am giving that back by following exactly what he or she has planned for me.  I have always maintained the mindset that if I am going to commit to do something, I am going to do it right.  As I continue to adjust to “the real world” and my new normal, I will definitely consider going back to having a coach.  Right now, I am having fun writing my own workouts and experimenting with new things in ultra training.  It keeps things fun, and as corny as it sounds…that is always most important!  In regards to training partners, my main one is my wife, Tia!  I also run a lot with the high school athletes I coach, as well as a few of my former co-workers.  I will always take any opportunity I can to run with people!

What is the next big race you’re training for? Any specific time/place/finish goals?

My next big race will be The North Face Endurance Challenge Championship 50k in San Francisco this December!  I would be stoked to come home with a top-ten finish!  I have learned that time/pace on the trails isn’t quite as relevant because of the varying terrain/course conditions from race to race.  I am just excited for the opportunity for the challenge of competing against some of the best athletes in the sport.  Leading up to it I plan to compete in a smaller race or two (both road and trail).

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What kinds of workouts are you focusing on? Do you have a favorite workout?

Again, the specific workouts I am focus on really depends on what race I am training for.  However, throughout most of the year my training is usually going to incorporate some sort of tempo run, long run, and faster paced intervals or hills, among general mileage/recovery runs.  I also do strides throughout the year to help maintain foot speed/overall running economy (even when training for an ultra).  More specifically for ultra races, I have learned that it is important to research the course you are going to be racing and do your best to mimic that terrain in training.  The further I get into a training cycle for an ultra, the more my workouts become focused on helping me encounter/prepare for what I will see on race day (same applies for practicing nutrition intake as well).  As far as my favorite workouts, I have always loved long runs!  I also love longer progression runs and fartlek runs….basically any “effort” based workout that is less focused on hitting specific splits, and more focused on “feel” and allowing your body and the workout to progress naturally.  Lastly, I enjoy running any sort of hill workout.  I have learned that practicing downhill running is just as important as practicing uphill running when it comes to ultras and trail racing.  Right now in training I have been working on increasing my overall long run distance, as well as practicing my climbing and descending.

Do you run mostly on roads or trails?

Definitely TRAILS!!!

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I saw recently that you started being sponsored. What kinds of sponsorships do you have?

Yes, I currently represent four different companies as a brand ambassador in my training and racing:  CEP Compression, Nuun hydration, and Headsweats performance headwear.  The team I run for, Anchored Elite, is also sponsored by Janji.  Janji is an awesome running apparel company that also works to provide clean water for those who need it in countries all around the world!  I am very thankful to have the support of these great companies as I continue to pursue competitive trail running!  I truly love their products and would highly recommend them to anyone!  For any other running gear needs I go to Fleet Feet Atlanta!

Lastly, do you have any advice for runners who want to continue running competitively post-collegiately? Or advice for runners who are seeking to get any sort of sponsorship?

For those that might have a dream to continue running competitively post-collegiately, I encourage you to not give up on that dream.  My main motivating factor was not wanting to look back in 10 or 20 years and wonder what I could have done in the sport if I stuck with it.  One of my favorite quotes has become “Only those who risk going too far, can possibly find out how far they can go.”  It is not always easy considering the majority of post-collegiate runners aren’t supporting themselves by running, but it can be done.  Set new goals for yourself after college so you have a sense of direction and purpose with your training and racing.  Also, always make sure you maintain a healthy balance in life.  I believe too much of one thing can be a bad thing.  Now that I am working full-time and married, I have had to learn where running fits into all that.  Make running something you do, but not who you are.  Adjusting to the “real world” and all of life’s demands can be difficult sometimes, so you have to learn to be flexible.  Don’t beat yourself up if you miss a workout or have to cut a run short because “life” happens.  Ultimately, you have to find ways to continually make it fun.  You have to enjoy the process before you can enjoy the result.  As far as gaining sponsorships, don’t be afraid to reach out to companies yourself.  Most of the time, unless you are at a world class level, companies aren’t going to come find you.  Find products you love and believe in and start there.  Put together a “running resume” and start sending it out to companies that you are interested in.  Don’t be upset if you don’t hear back right away from companies.  Positivity and persistency can get you a long way when it comes to both running and seeking out sponsorships!

*Blog credit goes to Clay Holton. The original blog post can be found here: http://www.holtonphysicaltherapyandperformance.com/matthew-johnson-transition-from-college-xc-to-ultras/

 

Challenged Athletes Foundation Hosts San Diego Triathlon Challenge

Challenged Athletes Foundation Hosts San Diego Triathlon Challenge

The Challenged Athletes Foundation (CAF) and The YMCA of San Diego County took over the beautiful La Jolla Cove on Sunday, October 23, 2016 to host the Aspen Medical Products San Diego Triathlon Challenge! During the event, over 200 physically challenged athletes completed a 1-mile ocean swim, and 44-mile bike ride, and a 10-mile run along one of the most breathtaking courses in the country. In it’s 23rd year, the event is unlike any other in the world, and is called by many the #BestDayInTri.

In addition to the Triathlon Challenge, over 100 riders and 50 challenged athletes participated in the YMCA of San Diego County Tour de Cove event, a sweat-drenching 4.5-hour stationary cycling marathon! Participants rode individually or as members of 3-person relay teams.

Check out this amazing recap video of the event:

Headsweats is the official headwear partner of the Challenged Athletes Foundation. The Challenged Athletes Foundation® (CAF) is a world leader in helping people with physical challenges lead active, healthy lifestyles. CAF believes that participation in physical activity at any level increases self-esteem, encourages independence and enhances quality of life.  Since 1994, more than $76 million has been raised and over 13,000 funding requests from people with physical challenges in all 50 states and dozens of countries have been satisfied. Additionally, CAF’s outreach efforts reach another 60,000 individuals each year. Whether it’s a $2,500 grant for a handcycle, helping underwrite a carbon fiber running foot not covered by insurance, or arranging enthusiastic encouragement from a mentor who has triumphed over a similar challenge, CAF’s mission is clear: give opportunities and support to those with the desire to live active, athletic lifestyles.

Headsweats Ambassador Program Accepting Applications for 2017!

Headsweats Ambassador Program Accepting Applications for 2017!

Headsweats is currently looking for athletes of all ages and abilities who use and are passionate about the Headsweats brand to be a part of their 2017 Ambassador team!

HEADSWEATS AMBASSADOR APPLICATION

Each year, Headsweats carefully selects 30 athletes to represent the brand as ambassadors and spokespeople during training, racing, and on social media. Our Ambassadors are part of our extended family, and they have a passion for what they do and a love for the Headsweats brand and message. Headsweats Ambassadors receive yearly benefits including:

• Headsweats headwear to train and compete in year-round
• A unique discount code to share with friends, family and those you meet when training and racing
•A profile on Headsweats’ website and exposure on Headsweats’ social media channels
•Knowledge of  new products and news before anyone else

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We will be accepting applications for our 2017 Ambassador program through January 31, 2017. Since we receive such a high volume of applications each year, we will not be responding individually to each application. All selected 2017 Ambassadors will be notified mid-February via e-mail. If you think you would be a good fit for the Headsweats Ambassador program, please fill out an application HERE!

We look forward to reading your applications, and thank you for supporting Headsweats!

Sincerely,
The Headsweats Team

 

A Race Experience Abroad – The Amsterdam Marathon

A Race Experience Abroad – The Amsterdam Marathon

Running is such an amazing sport because it constantly introduces you to new people and places. Headsweats Ambassador Kim Cowart experienced this first-hand when she had the opportunity to race in the Amsterdam Marathon earlier this month. Read more about Kim’s experience in Amsterdam and what she learned from racing in another country!

My three passions in life are running, writing and traveling.  My dream is to combine all three writing about my running adventures in far away places.  My most recent adventure was at the Amsterdam Marathon.

What set this race apart from so many other big races is there were three races in one day: the full marathon, a half-marathon and an 8K.  The day before the race, we took part on the Good Morning City run which was an easy jog through Amsterdam.  Four miles later we had a better idea of the layout of the city and had already seen many of the highlights.

Because the streets in Amsterdam are quite narrow, the start times were staggered.  Full marathoners began at 9:30.  The course was a loop course, starting and finishing in Olympic Stadium.  Spectators dotted the stand above, giving them full views of all the action on the track.

The energy was electric with music pumping at the start, and big screens around the stadium so we could see the elites take off.  Five minutes after they began, I crossed the same start line.

Amsterdam is the most beautiful European city I’ve ever seen.  The weather was a perfect 50 degrees with plenty of shade from the gorgeous trees lining every street.  The half marathon course follows most of the full course.  The advantage of the full marathoners is we got to run around the Amstel River which offered the most scenic, bucolic views.  Horses running across the fields, sheep grazing in the pasture.  Yes, we even ran by a few iconic windmills.  I had to pinch myself to make sure it was all real.

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A view from the race course.

While this is only my second European marathon experience, I have traveled to numerous other big marathons like New York and Boston.  Here are a few points that set Amsterdam apart from the rest of the pack.

First, the race is cheap.  At around $80, this race is by far the cheapest big city race I’ve ever run.  By comparison I paid over $250 to run New York and $180 to run Boston.  Half marathoners only paid $45 to run through the streets of Amsterdam.  The support didn’t suffer; in fact, it was even better than some of the bigger races with plenty of water, energy drink, food and bathrooms along the course.

Second, there was music at every kilometer along the race.  I didn’t know what a difference this would make in my mood until around the 10K mark I realized I was starting to look forward to the bands and DJ’s that dotted the course.  A marathon is 42 kilometers.  So, yes, there were 42 music stations to keep us pumped and it worked.

Third, we started and finished in Olympic Stadium.  Not only was it just plain cool to run around the stadium, but it made it easy for spectators to cheer on their runners.

Fourth, there were a variety of distances to choose from.  Most big city races limit themselves to the full marathon, and for good reason.  Logistically it’s difficult to close down the streets on a Saturday or Sunday.  Accommodating tens of thousands of runners can be a challenge as well.  But Amsterdam made it happen.  By staggering the start times, more than 35,000 people ran either the full marathon, half marathon or 8K.

Finally, the views were spectacular.  It was like running through a postcard.  Every turn offered stunning views of canals and tree-lined streets.  While many streets are cobblestone, we avoided most of that.  My legs were grateful.

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With my finisher’s medal!

It wasn’t all roses.  I was disappointed at the finish line offerings.  The only food at the finish was bananas.  There was water, but only in little cups.  There was also plenty of Isostar, their energy drink of choice, but my stomach did not agree, so we declined.  There were food trucks, but I wasn’t willing to spend money on them.  They did distribute free toothpaste, so there’s that.  I would recommend packing some extra food in your drop bag.  I didn’t and I lived to regret it.

Also, more than 16,000 runners ran the full marathon.  European streets are narrow.  This makes for a tricky start.  I had no intention of racing, so I was fine with going with the flow.  There is an attempt to organize runners by pace at the beginning, but they aren’t strict about it so there were quite a few people who started at the front and slowed the crowd.  It wasn’t until mile 10 I felt I could find a comfortable stride.

My last complaint would be transportation.  We did a dry run on the busses to the stadium, only to wake up race morning to find the busses were shut down.  Not even the concierge at our hotel knew that would happen, so we scrambled to find a taxi that could get us somewhat close to the stadium.  Getting back to the hotel after was tricky, too.  We walked quite a ways until we could find a tram to the hotel.  I ran with some money just in case, and I was glad I did.

Overall I loved the Amsterdam Marathon.  I would do it again in a heartbeat.  I love the diversity.  I loved the energy.  I loved the beauty.  This flat course is well-worth your money.

What Are You Doing?

What Are You Doing?

Headsweats is proud to be the official headwear partner of Team Red White & Blue, a national organization committed to enriching the lives of America’s veterans by connecting them to their community through physical and social activity.  Currently, Team RWB is completing the Old Glory Relay, in which 59 teams of runners will move a single American flag 3,450 miles across the country from San Francisco to Washington, D.C.  The runners have just passed the halfway point, and are aiming to finish their journey on November 8th, 2015.  This past week, Team RWB Marketing and Communications Director Dan Brostek traveled with the relay team for 6 days across Colorado and recorded his experience.

This is the discussion that happens multiple times a day as we carry Old Glory east across the country.

Relay Bystander: “What Are You Doing?”

Team RWB Member: “We are running the American Flag from San Francisco to Washington, D.C. over 60 days.”

Relay Bystander: “But why?”

Team RWB Member: “So we can have this very conversation.”

Running with the American Flag at any time is an awesome experience. Running Old Glory 3,540 miles through the heartland of America is absolutely surreal. The very image of one individual and one flag, unified in motion, generates questions, curiosity, honks, waves, high fives, tears, expressions of gratitude, and most importantly, the sharing of personal stories and experiences.

Over the course of six days I traveled with Old Glory from Telluride to Colorado Springs. I experienced some of the most epic scenery this country has to offer, and against that backdrop I’ve witnessed everyday Americans coming together from all over the state and country with a single mission…move Old Glory forward…one step at a time.  

And in these steps is where something truly magical happens. These steps create stories, and these stories create connections.  Given the time, I could write a short book on my journey with Old Glory through Colorado. Instead, I will highlight some of the unique experiences I had over the course of six days and more than 350 miles from the San Juan Mountains through the Arkansas River Valley to the Front Range.

There was a moment of total serendipity as I witnessed a few Team RWB members meet a complete stranger on our way into the small town of Ridgway only to learn that they were all involved in the 1989 Panama invasion. It was absolutely captivating to hear their stories and see them recount those harrowing experiences.

I experienced a moment of uncontrollable laughter when I learned what happens to a runner when you get too close to a cattle truck coming around a curve. You can use your imagination on this one. Bottom-line, it’s funny…unless you are the runner.

We had CDOT workers serenade us with the National Anthem as they paused their blasting for a few minutes so our runners could bypass the construction work and continue moving Old Glory up Monarch Pass.

I heard amazing stories from veterans, civilians and active duty members about how they found Team RWB and the impact the organization is having on their lives. One individual lost over 120 pounds and made fitness a priority in her life. Another individual shared his story about getting clean and battling his addictions. Another veteran with over 25 years of service talked about dealing with the struggles of readjusting to civilian life. Many commented on how they found the camaraderie that they had been seeking since they left the military. Some shared their Faces of Old Glory…personal stories of their grandfathers, uncles, sisters, cousins and friends that have positively impacted and shaped their lives. And some folks just liked the awesome red shirt and wanted to join the team, and in doing so found so much more.

I witnessed people testing their physical and mental limits as they pushed through the heat, altitude and rain to ensure Old Glory continued to move forward.

My favorite experience of all was the handoff…that split second in time when the energy and power of Old Glory transitions from one runner to the next. Having both witnessed and experienced “the handoff” hundreds of times, I still find it hard to put into words how moving this experience truly is.

“So what are you all doing out here?”

Well, we are creating connections…we are sharing stories and experiences, and in the end, we are uniting around a shared goal to enrich the lives of our veterans.

So as the flag continues to move east, take an opportunity to get involved and experience the relay firsthand.  You can still register as a relay or virtual runner and you can donate to help grow the programs that Team RWB is delivering in communities across the globe.  Visit OldGloryRelay.org to learn more.

 

*Blog post and photos courtesy of Dan Brostek